Why I Have A Wheelchair: The Game Of "What If's"

I am a proud wheelchair owner.

I am not, as of yet, a wheelchair user.

Why is this?

Well, I have my reasons.

I have a wheelchair because...

I don't know what my ankylosing spondylitis will do.

Living with AS is unpredictable. Good days and bad days come and go like the tide. The only difference is, the tide is controlled by the moon and AS is controlled by…

Well, I’ll get back to you on that one.

But, we seriously don't know when we will have a flare, when our SI joint will make walking difficulty, or if our knees will just decide they don’t want to hold our weight anymore.

I want my wheelchair for days like this.

I don’t know if I will get injured.

A constant thought I have is that some random blow is going to put me down for the count. A car accident, a kid at school jumping on me, a fall down the stairs…

I have an already damaged spine that does not move like a spine should. What if some physical trauma bends it in a way it should not and I can’t walk anymore?

I want my wheelchair because this could happen.

I don’t know if I will be put in a position where I will need it.

Like most ankylosing spondylitis patients, I would like to live a “normal” life. I would like to go to ball games, see the animals at the zoo, and participate in the annual Autism walk.

But, what if I can’t walk?

I have worked (and struggled) really hard to stay as active as I can. Some days, walking a longer distance doesn’t affect me much. Some days, it's like walking through wet cement, and my knees and hips are grinding with every step.

If I go to the zoo, the ballpark, or a charity walk, a wheelchair would make life a little simpler.

I want my wheelchair so I can still participate.

I don’t know if I would find one so nice again.

My wheelchair was on Craigslist. It was only $10 and it had a really nice cushion (the big deciding factor for me). If I would need a wheelchair in the future, I could see myself doing well with this one. It doesn't take up too much space, so, why not?

The big game of “what if’s”

I play this game a lot. I would rather think about all the possibilities and prepare, rather than be caught off guard.

There is never a moment I am not aware of my AS. It is a constant reminder of my possible future. Having my wheelchair in my basement does not make me feel hopeless. Quite the opposite. It reminds me that even if things aren't perfect, there is something waiting to help. And that gives me hope.

That is why, although I am not a wheelchair user, I am still a proud wheelchair owner.

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